The new ‘involved dad’ leading quiet revolution chipping away at stereotype of a bumbling distant parent


Jonathan Magder, manager in Deloitte's corporate strategy group, with children Marissa, 6 1-2, Ethan, 4, and Lindsay, 2. Madger is one of the "Deloitte Dads," a new group at his company that puts emphasis on male parenting.

On Father's Day 2013, new ‘involved dad’ chipping away at stereotype

It was a well-intentioned compliment that took Adam Dolgin aback. The Toronto dad had taken his then-nearly 2-year-old daughter out for breakfast on a Saturday while his wife was at work. He sat with another dad he knew, out with his son. An older woman at another table kept looking over throughout their meal. On her way out she stopped to tell them how proud she was of them for being great dads.

“When my wife’s out with the kids, no one’s walking up to her and saying that,” said Mr. Dolgin, 39, acknowledging that the beaming older woman was likely just not used to seeing dads out alone with their children.

“[But] I don’t need a pat on the back,” he said. “I’m their parent, not their babysitter.”

The era of the “involved dad,” as Mr. Dolgin, who runs the blog calls himself, is in unquestionably upon us — many couples are forging an equal partnership in which moms and dads operate a home according to what makes sense for their family.

A new survey released Wednesday by the BabyCenter website and Men’s Health magazine finds 61% of dads put their family before work and are 2.8 times more likely to help with a new baby than even back in 2006. According to 2010 data from Statistics Canada, 11% of two-parent families in Canada have stay-at-home dads. With each consecutive year, more and more fathers are taking paternity leave.

“Fathers are launching a quiet revolution,” reads a new report from the Boston College Center for Work & Family released Thursday. It connects the wave of involved fathers to “women’s steady and certain progress toward greater prominence in higher education and the fastest growing professions.” They’re sick of the dad-as-buffoon caricature, bumbling his way through childcare as if handicapped by the restraint of their forefathers. And they’re running into the same workplace “juggle” issues so often talked about in the context of mothers.

Just as society has taken a long time to catch up with the advances of women, men are now facing an uphill battle as they seek to be engaged fathers, there for their kids at a time when the traditional models of yesterday still shape social expectations.

“There’s clearly a change happening,” said Fred Van Deusen, a senior research associate at the Boston College Center for Work & Family. Men are spending more time with their children and the Center’s data on stay-at-home fathers suggests they’re good at it, he said.

“That’s definite. That’s happening and society needs to understand that’s happening. [But] both the cultures at work and cultures broadly in society haven’t adjusted to that yet.”

Andrea Doucet, the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work and Care at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., characterizes society’s acceptance of the “New Dad” as molasses-slow. She’s been studying the stay-at-home dad in Canada for the past 20 years and even today the reaction Mr. Dolgin got that day in the restaurant is par for the course.

“In some ways, things have not changed as much as one would think they would have by now. But on the other hand … there’s now a conversation.”

For example: Kindling Quarterly, a magazine just for dads launched in Brooklyn this February. The two issues so far are packed with photos of hipster-cool dads playing with and caring for their children. It’s as visually aspirational as Vogue and as high-brow as The Atlantic Monthly, reaching a demographic of young, upwardly mobile fathers who want to be taken seriously in that role.

“As a society, I think we are just now starting to have a meaningful discussion about fatherhood, outside the reactionary dichotomy of the incompetent/emotionally absent dad vs. the overly-mocked helicopter dad,” editor/publisher David Michael Perez wrote in an email to the Post. “Having said that we still have a long way to go — there is still a unspoken imperative that men shouldn’t honestly talk about fatherhood (the joys and challenges) less they be shamed or ridiculed.”

Even if the men with breadwinner wives are totally content with the dynamics of their relationship, there’s still a deeply entrenched expectation out in society that men are the breadwinners, Mr. Van Deusen said.

A new report from the Pew Research Center last month said women are breadwinners in 40% of American households with children. A closer look at the data, however, shows that most of these breadwinners are single mothers. Of the 60% of households that are dual career partnerships, in a quarter of those, the woman hauls in more money.

Sociologists often talk about a “culture lag,” in which the culture itself shifts and people’s behaviours catch up. The opposite seems to be happening with involved dads, said Glenda Wall, a professor of sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., who researches cultural portrayals and understandings of mothers, fathers and children.

“The behaviour of men is changing a lot faster than the culture itself and I think it’s the men changing that are having a bigger pushback on that culture,” she said.

The biggest pushback from men has come in the form of vocal protest to the way fathers are depicted in commercials for parenting products. And advertisers are only just now starting to respond.

Last year, a petition on successfully pressured Huggies diapers to pull an ad that showed men engrossed in the “challenge” of being left alone for an entire weekend with the baby. The company now shows fathers as not just competent, but expert and discerning diaper-changers.

While the puzzled papa is still an advertising staple, this year’s crop of pre-Father’s Day commercials are far more respectful and, many would argue, more accurate in their portrayals of the modern father. An Oral-B ad that flashes video clips of dads cuddling their children, feeding them, and kissing them at graduation, is being lauded by daddy bloggers, whose ranks have exploded in the past five years.

Marketing to fathers is a “nice-to-have” right now, not a “need-to-have,” since more women are still shopping for the family, said Rebecca Brown, chief ideas officer at Rec Room, a consultancy that helps marketers connect with families.

“The reason I think we’re at the beginning of a shift is we’re really only starting to see Gen Y become parents,” she said. It’s a generation that invests a lot more in their social relationships and family life, she said.

“Their expectations will be that the dads and the moms … [are] absolutely going to be there for soccer games.”

This is already an expectation at Deloitte, a major professional services firm that has long promoted flexible work arrangements.

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek cover story titled “Lean Out: Working Dads want family time, too” profiled an internal company program in Toronto called Deloitte Dads.

The group, headed up by Rob Lanoue, 44, Andrew Hamer, 30, and Jonathan Magder, 35, knows it’s a rare breed — a father-specific forum to discuss “parenting issues” and stamp out any lingering stigma about being “as serious about parenting as … making partner,” the Bloomberg article reads. The program has been a huge success, and they’re hoping to expand to Calgary and other cities.

Just last week, Mr. Magder ducked out of work to attend his daughter’s fun day at school. He made up the time at home — a place he tries to be for dinner at least three times a week.



“That’s not an equally shared or primary breadwinner [set-up],” Prof. Wall said of Mr. Magder’s thrice-weekly home-for-dinner target. Despite their desire to be more involved, men are still away from home more and are expected to be more removed than mom, she said. The attachment parenting trend that focuses on the primary attachment figure — often the mother, thanks to the emphasis on breastfeeding — also tends to shut men out from early bonding with the child, she said.

Working fathers also don’t tend to carry the guilt of being away from home that working moms do, she said, but they can feel pressure from both sides: The growing expectation that dad will be at that soccer game, and the expectation that nothing will change for a man in the office once he becomes a father.

Data from the Boston College Work & Family Center report found that in 2011, 96% of fathers said their managers’ expectations of them at work remained the same, while 3% said they had risen. Virtually none of those dads reduced their hours spent at work.

Mr. Magder said he has friends — some of them lawyers — who have been too afraid to ask for paternity leave due to the demands and culture at work.

While society’s response to involved fathers is indeed shifting, it may take “at least a generation” to be seen as the norm, said Prof. Doucet from Brock University. Those generational differences in expectations explains why a well-intentioned senior citizen might give Mr. Dolgin a pat on the back for being a “good father” when, in his mind, he’s just being a parent.

“We still think of fathers more comfortably as more involved secondary parents instead of primary parents,” Prof. Wall said. “But the trends are in the right direction.”

National Post

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A new survey found 61% of dads put their family before work.

Commentary by the Ottawa Men's Centre

Being a Full time father is a very dangerous vulnerable position in Canadian society.

Once a father sacrifices his career for the children and loses his income ability, he is the seen by the Courts, Police and Child Protection as another possible child sex abuser and a dead beat dad who should be thrown out of the home, not eligible for spousal support, child support, legal aid and should be incarcerated indefinitely.

Full time fathers are at grave danger of being victims of domestic terrorism.

That is, women know all they have to do is make false allegations to end children's relationships with their father.

Take the Corrupt Ottawa Police who routinely arrest male victims of domestic violence.

If a father calls the Ottawa Police with obvious injuries, she is UNLIKELY to be charged. He will be kept in jail for many hours after the Children's Aid Society sends a worker to concoct justifications for an intervention

as to why, the full time father can't see his children for long enough to give the

mother status quo.

If a father seeks an emergency motion odds are he will be denied and told

the children are not at risk because they are with the mother.

If a mother brings an emergency motion all she has to do is make uncorroborated allegations of child sex abuse and he will be thrown out of the home, his children removed from his care and slapped with a comprehensive restraining order.

That's Ottawa and ever other major city in Ontario and many other provinces.

Full time fathers live in terror of the Children's Aid Societies of Ontario who are nothing less than a Criminal Cartel who fabricate evidence against full time fathers to remove children from their care.

These private corporations have NO government oversight. Their lawyers routinely fabricate evidence in the court room.

Take Marguerite Lewis of the Ottawa Children's Aid Society who fabricates evidence at the drop of a hat. She will read an affidavit that says "I deny" and tell the judge it reads "I do not deny".

She will take an admission of a mother to assaulting a child by slapping to the upper part of the body and change it to "a slap on the bottom for misbehaviour".

Child Protection Workers of the Children's Aid Societies have a habit if "understating" violence by mothers, obvious assaults as "discipline" or a "slap on the bottom" when in fact the mother used a weapon to hit the child in unprovoked anger.

When the matter goes to court, the first step is to have the full time father's legal aid cancelled with false allegations that are never revealed to the father. Those legal aid cancellations are quickly turned into life time bans.

Violent abusive women can then make wild phone calls of allegations of "breach of court order" and police do lay flurries of charges against full time fathers at the drop of a hat by a mother and despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary that the allegation never occurred.

The worst most vile enemy of the Full Time Fathers and also mothers, is the Corrupt Children's Aid Society who turn their guns on the most vulnerable in the community.

When the matter goes to court, judges use any excuse imaginable to keep children away from Full Time Fathers.

One Ottawa Father had his children removed for life for no other reason than he was overweight. The fact that he lost weight had not bearing.

The latest craze of the Children's Aid Society is label any man who is a victim of domestic violence "a risk of emotional harm" to the child because he "holds views that the the mother assaulted him".

That's right, you say your wife assaulted you and you become an unacceptable risk of emotional harm!

The nastiest most dangerous risk to full time fathers is the "Family Court Assessments" AKA CAS Quack, Hired Pen, who is given a script of what to write by the Children's Aid Society.

If the quack inserts anything the CAS don't like, its removed.

If you have a violent female psychopath, the CAS will OMIT psychological testing on the slightest excuse.

The CAS and their puppet FCC will fail to interview anyone who might speak favorably about about the full time father.

The CAS will then fabricate a "mixed personality disorder" when all the testing shows that the full time father had no mental health problem or personality disorder.

When the matter goes to court, the judge will simply regurgitate what ever CAS tell them.

In one recent Ottawa case, a Children's Aid Society worker Phil Hiltz-Laforge blatantly fabricated evidence to justify an "intervention" that removed child/ren from a full time father.

In another Ottawa case, Ottawa Police Detective Peter Van Der Zander omitted to charge a mother who admitted to violent assaults against a father that left numerous injuries. Detective Van Der Zander simply refused to interview the father until hours after he had released the mother and "collaborated" with a CAS worker to remove the children from the father and place with the mother.

Detective Peter Van Der Zander fabricated evidence to obstruct justice and when the matter was reported to the Ottawa Police, they refused to take any action.

Crooked Police, Social Workers and Judges all work together to destroy Full Time Fathers who are victims of domestic violence.

We live in a Corrupt Country Canada that is absent the Rule of Law and where we have Male Sharia Law.

The OIPRD for police complaints is nothing but a corrupt white washing organization to get rid of complaints.

The Judicial Council fail to look at any complaint regarding a judge's abuse of discretionary power or the habitual wide spread abuse of Full Time Fathers by the Judiciary.

If you are a Full Time Father and being abused by your wife, if you call the police odds are YOU will be arrested and never see your children again.

Thanks to Ontario's Male Sharia Law and our Corrupt Vile Father Hating Children's Aid Societies of Ontario.

The most cowardly people in society attack the most vulnerable in the community.

Enough is Enough and it's time for scrap the Children's Aid Societies of Ontario and replace it with an Ontario Department of Child Protection where these Child Protection Workers and Social Workers can work free of intimidation and terror that they are presently enduring.

CAS workers are afraid to speak out because guess what happens if they do, their own kids will become a target not to mention, never working in child protection again.

If you have any information regarding

Ottawa CAS worker Phil Hiltz-Laforge or

CAS lawyer Marguerite Isobel Lewis or

Ottawa Police Detective Peter Van Der Zander
Ottawa Police Constable SMITH Badge No. 880

or any other Ottawa official who fabricates evidence against fathers or mothers, contact in confidence, the Ottawa Men's Centre.